• Network: HBO
  • Series Premiere Date: Oct 10, 2011
  • Season #: 1 , 2
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 99 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 70 out of 99
  2. Negative: 16 out of 99

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  1. Mar 22, 2013
    This show took me by surprise. I deliberately avoided it initially because I was not a huge Laura Dern fan and I only decided to give it a shot because of the metacritic rating. Well written, excellent performances, critically acclaimed and recognised. Like Boss before it and others another excellent show gets cancelled because it doesn't cater to the lowest common denominator. It deserved another season. Expand
  2. Mar 4, 2013
    I stumbled across this show by accident. I knew nothing about it going in. What a rewarding find. Mike White has such a great eye and voice. Hope it gets a third season. It lacks the immediate punch of many of HBO's other shows. But it resonates better than most. I greatly commend Laura Dern too. Amy Jellicoe is a tough role. Dern isn't afraid to play her as a fully realized person, showing all her warts and failings. Good stuff all around. Expand
  3. Jan 27, 2013
    What a great concept. What great writing. What terrific acting. And along the way, some really great directing. Thank heavens Mike White (the writer) and Laura Dern (the out of this world lead and co-creator) put their heads together (I think they are neighbors), took it to HBO, and HBO had the great sense to develop it. Will it make it beyond Season 2? I have my doubts. It is genuinely quirky and well acted, not the ironic self-conscious quirk of Girls, and it has not been as promoted by HBO. So, it's a show you discover by yourself and then become addicted to, in a less fevered way than some others, but addicted nevertheless. How can one love Homeland and love Enlightened, too? I will leave that to greater minds than mine. BTW: one user reviewer seemed upset that the show is classified (is it?) as a comedy. Certainly for awards purposes, it has been. But it is painfully funny in the way life is. Good luck Enlightened. Expand
  4. Apr 7, 2013
    Even as a kid I disliked (I still do) characters on Cinema or TV who the audience was supposed to identify with you know the people next door. I’m the guy who loathes just about every sitcom. I do not have a malevolent view of the Universe but I’m unable to enjoy shows or films which aren’t dark (there is nothing even remotely dark in Enlightened). I remember I had to stop watching Pushing Daisies (a perfectly Ok show) after 1 episode because it had such a feel good vibe about it and the color pallet hurt my eyes literally. To hold my attention you had to be Walter White, a Tony Soprano, Dexter Morgan or a Tyrion Lannister perhaps. I never could get bring myself to like characters combating dilemmas of everyday life. My heroes had to be combating conflicts of Shakespearean proportions and dilemmas Kafkaesque in magnitude.
    Amy Jellicoe is the Heroin in Enlightened. I don’t think I’ve watched on screen anyone else portray someone like Amy the way Laura Dern has. She is such a miserable creature, you mostly hate her or just pity her. I don’t know how else to put it she is a person of such extraordinary mediocrity that it becomes fascinating! A woman so out of tune with the way others perceives her that she doesn’t even realize that her behaviour is intrusive and annoying, people are usually trying to gently let her down, a fact she is oblivious to. A thoroughly unlikeable character, her enthusiasm and positivity is cringe inducing because it’s phony, the interesting bit is that I don’t think even Amy realizes how joyless she really is she goes through the motions of appearing positive, believing that is how she’ll get to a “higher self”. The show isn’t a comedy, I wouldn’t call it a Drama either really because there is no Drama sans conflict the show definitely is not a case study, truth is I’m not really sure what to make of it. I don’t think the creator Mike White is trying to say something, if he is I can’t discern the meaning I just see it as a portrait of a woman, and a remarkably ugly and magnificent one at that. For some reason I was thinking about Dostoevsky’s “Notes from Underground” while watching this and I remember telling myself this is what she would have sounded like had the narrator in that novel been a woman.
    In one scene Laura’s character tells another that she used to manipulate men with her sexuality earlier but doesn’t do that anymore. You wouldn’t believe me if I told you it was heart breaking to hear her say that, as an audience you realize how pitiful she really is and wish for her own sake it is true.
  5. Dec 15, 2011
    This show is amazing. With the first few episodes I wasn't sure what to make of it, and at that point my boyfriend stopped watching it with me because he "can't handle Amy." Not many people can. The main character is deeply flawed and often annoying. She makes painful social missteps, is completely self-absorbed, either overly friendly or mad as hell, and prone to new-ageisms. So yeah, we all know this woman. Which is one of the most amazing things about this show: that they dared to make a realistically flawed middle aged female. Also, the writing is superb, and the show just gets better as the season progresses. Occupy Abbadon! Expand
  6. Oct 23, 2013
    It doesn't surprise me that some people don't find this show funny. I don't find Tosh.0 or Two and a Half Men Funny. People have different tastes.
    I think Enlightened is kind of brilliant. It's a perfect blend of dark comedy, satire, and drama with a socially conscientious flair that is desperately needed in this age. It's a show for the hopeful cynics and idealists with the ability to
    laugh at themselves and the absurdity they see in the world around them. Nate Fisher was annoying in his struggle for meaning and hope too, but at least Amy Jelicoe does something about it and perseveres. Turn Six Feet Under into a half hour comedy about hope in place of death, and you'll come up with something pretty close to Enlightened. Expand
  7. Oct 18, 2011
    Loved it. Laura Dern is pitch perfect as a recovering crazed, spurned bosses' lover who attempts to find deeper meaning in her life through spiritual practice. She's like a blissed out car crash, looking to see God in everything, while still being haunted by her past rage. It's like nothing I've ever seen on TV before, poking fun at some new age rituals, while genuinely shining some light on the path to awareness, OK, Enlightenment. And it's both amusing and poignant. Expand
  8. Nov 28, 2011
    This is such a funny show. Her charactor is so perfectly crazy and kind of sad at the same time. I love her mom, too. I cant wait untill the next episode.
  9. Dec 30, 2011
    How does one become enlightened in a culture where everything has a price tag, including Amy's $48,000 bill for becoming "enlightened"? Brilliantly written and acted. And, challenging as all good art should be.
  10. Jan 2, 2012
    The show takes a while to grow on you, and it requires deep introspection and careful viewing from its audience. A cursory viewing of the show would cause viewers to merely cringe at Dern's psychotic character . After a few episodes and repeated watch of the episodes the characters start shining. Rarely do I ever watch a show for the second time, but the subtle "enlightening" (pun intended) messages embedded in each episodes merits this show a spot on my dvr hard drive. Expand
  11. Oct 11, 2011
    A haunting, pitch perfect dissection of a woman we all know too well...and who we may even be as much as we may not want to. Alarmingly poetic and rapturous. Laura Dern is a national treasure. Mike White is Hemingway redux.
  12. Jan 1, 2014
    It appears that HBO have lost the plot and failed to allow the excellent Mike White the opportunity to complete what has been a tremendous first two thirds of a trilogy that deserves to be completed.

    Yes, the ratings were low predictably so because the demographic it actually speaks to is 40+. But SO WHAT?!

    Certain TV shows are 'growers' ones that speak to generations to come
    this could have, no, should have, been one of them. This could have been given re-runs two generations from now: the subject matter eternal.

    Impeccable acting in every department, and a message that should be heard by as many people as possible.

    The cold hard facts for no series three are that despite critical acclaim and Golden Globes to boot, HBO lost their nerve. A once-brave company that sent the most positive of messages to its viewers; namely that entertainment comes in many guises, and that sometimes money ain't everything, have made a big mistake here.

    It's ironic that as I watched the end of series two of Enlightened, my next choice was the episode of the Newsroom were the key protagonists are standing up to Jane Fonda's 'big business' character and arguing for a return to something more ballsier and honest was required. I believe the saying goes something like 'actions speaking louder than words'...

    You still have time, HBO, to turn this around. Re-market to its true audience, let Mike White complete this beautiful piece of art, and tell the whole world why you're doing it. We all make mistakes, and sometimes, it really is that simple.

    Bring back Enlightened.
  13. Oct 13, 2011
    This series is a call for those who are tense and trying to keep up with a good life with success but ruining it at the same time...and that's it! What can be more identifiable nowadays in a world full of rational power? This approach to the spiritual subject in the edge between a life lesson and a parody makes it special for me. The humor and the characters are a lot like those of a Todd Solondz film. I love the ending. Watching the last scene in the elevator made me think of a spiritual enlightened direction of the authors. Dern and White should stay as a team for a long time. This is the most comfortable fiction show I've ever seen. Expand
  14. Nov 23, 2011
    The premise is interesting, and it's fun to watch Laura Dern and her real mother interact as daughter and mother, especially since each is such a good actress. The supporting cast is varied and the show has the right mix of humor and pathos and silliness and seriousness; I like the blend and appreciate the fact that it is not mean-spirited. It has a good heart and is not dumbed down either.
  15. Mar 8, 2012
    I truly believe this is a sleeper meaning nobody is talking about it at the water cooler but just give it time Laura is an incredible actress not a fan of her until now. Luke Wilson also plays true to the character awesome writing. I'm more of a shootem up movie guy was bored one day and wham!!!!! im hooked good job guys keep up the good work.
  16. Jun 23, 2014
    All I can say is I love it, it is brilliant, Laura Dern is wonderful as usual, the story is excellent and the acting superb. It's very funny, all the actors are top class, especially the actress playing Laura's Mother and Laura's ex. is brilliant as well. I give it 10 out of 10.

Generally favorable reviews - based on 22 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 22
  2. Negative: 0 out of 22
  1. Reviewed by: Ken Tucker
    Oct 24, 2011
    By this third episode, the tone has become open, generous, and alert to every sort of character.
  2. Reviewed by: Troy Patterson
    Oct 19, 2011
    A black comedy working many shades of gray, Enlightened is about dark mornings of the soul and the fool's-golden glow of the new convert, and it measures the weight of the world with an eccentric scale.
  3. Reviewed by: Alessandra Stanley
    Oct 10, 2011
    The series embraces the absurdities of its subject with enough compassion to avoid outright parody.